Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December Days

Oh it has been so long since my last post!! The holidays, the end of the year, and my daughter's upcoming birthday has come so quickly. The weather in Ohio has been nothing short of amazing. Gardening in the middle of December has it's perks. First, my flower beds are all cleaned up for Spring. Second, I even transplanted a few hardy perennials to our front porch flower garden since their hasn't been much frost. They're doing great and I should have a row of lamb's ear blooming in the Summer. 

Lettuce in December..... I know, I can't believe it either...

But on the sewing front..... Oh geesh.... Where do I start? I've learned my lesson with quilting, that's for sure. If you start a quilt, finish it. My end of year projects have been all about getting those tops I've posted on Instagram "quilted". (With the exception of 2 that are going to be Christmas gifts.... I can't wait to post those!) I never mind taking sewing requests from family and friends, but for big projects, I might instill a cutoff date next year ;) 

A little section of a quilt I made using Sarah Watts Honeymoon fabric. (Cotton and Steel)
You can check out the finished project on Instagram (themintneedle)

So what's on the cutting table now? Some solids I've been dying to work with and a beautiful Moda pattern I can't wait to get started on! 

I'm also researching sewing machines. Turns out I am a bells and whistles kinda girl and there are a few things my current machines can't do, that I'd really really like.... The sad thing, with the internet being so vast, I'm not really finding that many helpful reviews. My main choices that I'm bouncing between are the Juki TL 2000Qi, Janome New Home MC7700QCP, or just taking a financial plunge to buy a Bernina that has nothing but rave reviews..... I'll have to keep you all posted on which sewing machine finds a new home at this house. Things it must do.... free-motion quilting, even feed, stitch regulator if possible, large throat space, extension table would be nice, and it has to be a work horse, I sew ALOT. For example, it should be able to handle a pair of jeans just as gracefully as it handles a quilt...Things it doesn't need, embroidery or fancy stitching and I really don't care about an automatic threader. That's really not a bad list, is it? I just wish someone would guide me in the right direction before I make this purchase! 

Merry Christmas to you all! May the New Year bring you nothing but happiness, good health, love and laughter! God Bless!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Coconut & Calendula

We've been so fortunate to have some warm and sunny weather lately! I sometimes have to stop and remind myself that Christmas will be here before we know it. There's a couple of secret projects I've been working on that I really can't post.... yet. But in the meantime, I wanted to share a little salve I made for the winter.... ya know, chapped hands, dry skin, dry feet... The amazing thing, this little concoction does so much more than that! Our puppy Charlie, who is actually a full grown German Shepherd, has a bit of an allergy problem come Fall and Spring. His skin gets soooo dry, itchy, and flakey. We tried eeeeeverything from food changes to supplements to conditioners. And would you believe it, that this little homemade cream of calendula and coconut oil did the trick? Ya, I couldn't believe it myself. No more itchy, dry skin for Charlie! Even the vet said his skin looks so much better than before!

All you need is 2 cups of dried calendula flowers, 1 cup coconut oil, a cooking pot, 1 unbleached coffee filter, a jar for storing, a wooden skewer, & a stainless steel strainer. (Optional ~ 4 drops of a preferred essential oil ) 

On a low flame, fry up all those calendula flowers for at least 5 minutes. If you start to hear popping, your flame is too high. The longer you can fry them, the more potent the oil. And just an fyi ~ fried calendula flowers don't smell too pleasant.

Take your metal strainer and place the coffee filter inside. Slowly pour your oil into the storing jar. It doesn't need to be colored glass. (I re-used a blue glass jar from some skin cream I used up. Just make sure to disinfect and clean any jar prior to use, regardless of it's previous contents!) 

Last, add 4 drops of preferred essential oil and blend with a wooden skewer. I used Eucalyptus because I love the way it smells and it's also known for it's antiseptic properties.

How easy was that? Just pop it in the fridge to harden and you're all done!

Now, I know you've heard me rant about this herb a million times here, but seriously it works. Calendula is considered an annual plant in most parts of the states but it is extremely easy to plant from seed. You know something is good when you've watched it bloom from June to November non-stop... in Ohio! The only down side... you need to harvest the blooms quickly because it's not a long flowering plant. And the more you pick, the more flowers you will get. It's nothing short of amazing.... It's kinda like the goodness just keeps coming and more of it each time!

On another note.... Fall planting was a go and I've decided to keep a whole bed in the garden just of garlic! We (kids included) love it too much! The potted plants are officially indoors and once again the house looks like a wild jungle! Is it crazy if I mention I can't wait for Christmas decorating???

 ~ Here's to the good things we create! ~
Happy Trails till next time!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Oh I can't believe I've done only 1 post for the most inspiring month of the year!?!? I have to admit, it's all delightful... ya know the things that have been taking up the most time. And tonight... well.... you guessed it, I wanted to play catch up and share what's been going on...

A photo of these aprons just because the light hit them perfectly that sewing afternoon:)

For starters, Halloween festivities are all a go with my little girls that are getting big so very quickly. A witch and her cat as I like to call it.....

On a different note... I'm struggling slightly with how much I want to sew as far as Christmas gifts and what I'm realizing I'm capable of... but only time and what is left of it at the end of the day will tell. And... somewhere between putting more items up in the Etsy shop, (like the ones below), and these 'gifts' i'm working on.... I find myself thinking..."Craft Fair"....Seriously....

I love the colors of the aprons and the unisex baby blanket I made! And the blanket... how it washes so perfectly! I couldn't be happier with the outcome!

Here's to cooler October days and nights & hopefully more time for projects!
Happy trails!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Inspiring October

Hello readers! I'm so glad you stopped by! I feel as though there's so much to talk about & so much to show you! First off, our family took a little trip back to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It was a blast. We got to do things that we didn't last time, when it snowed. The funny thing... the girls, at first, were so upset it wasn't snowing there already! Seriously?!?! It ended up being warmer in Glenwood than back home in Ohio. (Not surprising...)

This time, we got to enjoy a 15 mile bike ride that coasts along I-70. It was beautiful! Then, we took a hike up to Hanging Lake. (Words cannot explain the oasis that exists on top of that mountain.) The question for the kids... how did the fish get there? :) After, we enjoyed a day of lounging at the hot springs... literally all... day... long... And, to get in the spirit of spooky Halloween , we hiked up another mountain to visit Doc Holiday's grave along with all the early settlers. That was neat! At the end of trip, we decided since we were so close and the weather was perfect, why not head to Aspen? So we enjoyed an afternoon in the town with some shopping and tasty Aspen ice cream! Oh ya, one more thing ~ The Continental Divide. Nothing like feeling on top of the world... well at least the United States!

 Little getaways like this are so inspiring! I haven't even told you about any of the boutiques or shops! One place that you must visit if you're in Glenwood is the Elizabeth Dean Boutique. This is just a sneak peak inside. There's quite a few bloggers that have also raved about this fabulous shop:)

One of the things that I'm most fond of about this trip is not only the family time, but the fact that I got to play around with my camera and take some really beautiful pictures. They came out so great that I think some will be used as duplicates in the Etsy shop! 

Happy trails to all things inspiring and memorable family trips:)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Autumn is here!

The fields are changing color and soon the trees will too.

Happy first day of Fall everyone!! I absolutely love this time of year:) I find it the most inspiring. Ideas swarm consistently and as I've said in the past, it's handy to keep a pen and notebook on hand wherever you go! 

The garden beds are cleaned up and only a few pepper plants are left. I know it kinda sounds odd, but I like it. Even though the garden was okay this year... there's something about wiping the slate clean and planning for next year that's exciting. 

With the crafting and sewing... well that's taking on some new projects. There's a couple things I want to refinish ~(furniture wise) ~ before it gets too cold.

And check out these awesome candle sticks I made with the help of my hubby! Pinterest did it again...

They were made from old oak banisters we had laying around. We cut them to various sizes and drilled a hole at the top with a 1 1/2 inch spade bit. Sanded and white washed, it was complete!

Sewing wise?

Check out the projects below. You may recognize them from my Instagram.

An imperfect pillow.... but the shades are great together!

And... these neighborly houses make the perfect backdrop for my daughter's American girl doll area:)

There's a ton more things I've started but can't snap pictures of. Ya know, Christmas is coming and I can't give away too many ideas;) 

Lastly, what better way to end the first day of Autumn than with my very first quilted piece for sale in the Etsy shop! Now, people, this is exciting! I can just picture this wall hanging perfectly in a little baby boy's nursery! It measures roughly 28 by 28 and.... I used my own pattern for this piece! Navy blue, oranges, and yellows never looked so good:)

Happy trails to colorful leaves, cool nights, bonfires, caramel apples, pumpkins, and the sweet smell of Autumn!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Country Living Fair 2015

The Country Living Fair was here! And if you were lucky, you got to enjoy treasure hunting at its finest, walking among beautiful, unique, vintage, and handmade items!
Check out some pics!

Could a fairy house be any cuter?

Great items for organizing!

There's so much to see!

I have to admit... this is one place I didn't mind seeing Christmas items!

I absolutely could've walked away with 4 of these giant blending bowls.
They were enormous!


Vintage toy shop

The Ohio Village Tea Demo

Could you tell that it was an absolutely gorgeous day? I really can't say there was a specific area I loved the best. It was all so wonderful! Everything was spread out perfectly that as you wandered, you came across a treasure at every corner. The artisans, who hand crafted items right on the spot, were so inspiring. I loved that every vendor wanted to explain the ingredients behind their products, (specifically soap & lotion makers). And, the historical village had prop people playing the various roles of the time period. It was so neat!

So what did I walk away with??? A few prized vintage tablecloths and doilies. Not many people know this, but I'm a complete sucker for them. There's just something about finding fabric prints and textiles that are truly one of a kind. As I like to say... they were the artisans of yesterday. 

We also received some knowledge from the two seminars we sat in on. "Raising Chickens Naturally" with Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily gave the audience so much information about various herbs and natural cleaners that promote good health. "Making Fresh Goat Cheese" with Jeff Wince and Chad Snelling of Tilton Hollow Farm & Soap Co. was fun & amazing to watch. Literally, different cheeses were created right before our eyes! Obviously, I am preparing my hubby for some new pets;)

One more thing.... the food.... oh geez.... I guess we started our Thanksgiving weight gain early. All those yummy food trucks! Just too delicious to pass up!

Happy Trails till next time!